Are remote insurance agents actually more efficient than on-site ones? | Insurance Business America
Although insurance agents have the option to either work on-site in a call center or remotely using the latest virtual platforms, one industry expert suggests that handling calls remotely is far more efficient and beneficial for agents.
In a special feature on CIO Review, Clearlink executive vice president of insurance Joe Orr explained that remote insurance sales platforms can be better than traditional call centers.
“The right virtual platform for remote sales allows for the same collaboration, instruction, and visibility into employee activity experienced in traditional call centers,” said Orr, adding that some platforms even have additional features such as machine learning to improve sales efficiency.
According to Orr, the virtual platforms of today are not just used to connect sales agents to the caller line – they can also serve as a collaborative space “where sales coaches can monitor calls and provide real-time advice.” The platforms can also collect call data, and with machine learning algorithms, make that collected data useful. Orr also noted that the platforms allow sales agents more flexibility in terms of a home work environment.
Leaning on Clearlink’s expertise in running call centers, Orr enumerated the different ways a virtual platform can increase insurance sales efficiency.
- Increased access to structured data – A virtual platform with machine learning can turn recorded conversations into structured data. This way, sales coaches no longer have to listen to agents’ calls, when they can turn to structured reports prepared by the platform to identify areas where the agents need improvement.
- Higher agent availability rate – Orr found that virtual agents had a higher availability rate over bricks-and-mortar call center agents; he believes this is because the virtual agents no longer have to deal with inconveniences such as getting stuck in traffic or weather troubles. He also noted that agents working from home tend to take more calls than those based in call centers. Orr thinks it is because working from home limits agents from socializing, thus giving them more time to take calls.
- Refined hiring practices – Insurers looking to hire agents to work remotely no longer have to worry about geography, Orr said. Qualified candidates – no matter how far they live from the office – can be counted upon. He also noted that in one of Clearlink’s latest hiring pushes, the bricks-and-mortar center received 600 applicants, while applications for virtual positions numbered more than 6,000.
- Improved employee satisfaction – In Orr’s experience, the highly qualified applicants that apply for remote positions do so because they like working from home. Meeting that demand leads to more fulfilled employees, he added.